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Offline AshSimmonds

  • Geekitecht

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
  • Location: Adelayed
  • Name: Humble Narrator
  • www: AshSimmonds.com
To herald this shiny new Vintage and Classic Cars section - we'll start with this soliloquy from the haired one to kick off discussion.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/columnists/jamesmay/6613585/Restoration-removes-character-from-old-things.html

Quote
Restoration removes character from old things

By James May

Bashed-up old motorcycles - and crockery - still have a use, and by fixing their flaws we are ruining the character and history of the machines.


To begin with, and this was well over 10 years ago, there was just a hairline crack in the glaze, starting at the centre and weaving its way towards the edge. But at some time this tiny geological fault made it to the rim and became a proper crack.

I suppose my mother, still harbouring a post-war belief that flaws in crockery are host to disease, would have thrown it away. But modern detergents kill known germs, so I kept it.
 
Over the past decade, yet more cracks have appeared, radiating from the source of that original one and dividing the plate up into little ceramic continents. Now, when you pick it up, you can actually feel several tiny seismic events through your fingertips, and even hear them.

But still it refuses to give way, even though most of its contemporaries from the original set are long gone. For obvious reasons, this precious piece is known in the May household as the tectonic plate.

It lends an extra frisson of excitement to mealtimes around here. Crockery at May's, a very egalitarian eatery, is distributed without consideration of social rank, age or colour of trousers and often without an accompanying napkin, either.

The plates go around in the order they emerged from the cupboard. You might eat bangers 'n' mash in complete confidence, or you might have to sit primed to flee in the face of a tsunami of gravy should the Americas decide to split from Africa. I love it when I get the tectonic plate.

To be honest, a lot of the stuff in the kitchen cupboard is getting on a bit. Much of it is chipped and a few things have no handle. I have actually thrown away the stemless wine glass, but anything that can still function stays.

There is cutlery from a set we used for camping when I was small, a few inevitable nicked things, novelty egg cups and all the usual rubbish. Nothing matches, although educated observers could identify one or two recurring patterns that point to the former existence of complete dinner services.

Once or twice, I've thought: "Enough!" This is a progressive household. I should sling it all, spend an hour in Jean Louis and re-equip the whole house with uniform white crockery and stainless steel utensils. But where's the fun in that? As it stands, I could appear on Who Do You Think You Are? without leaving the kitchen.

There is a ceramic oven dish and colander from my late maternal grandmother, a broad-bean slicer from the other side of the family, a carving knife that I believe was a coming-of-age present to my mum, pans from my student days, my peerless and much-repaired Mouli grater and a few new soup bowls I bought a year ago. I'm not nostalgic about housewares, it's just that this is more interesting than turning the most important room in the house into a wedding list.

This, then, is why I won't be restoring my Honda CB500 after all. I actually got as far as clearing a space in the garage, buying a workshop manual and laying out the tools. Then I had a quick supper off the tectonic plate, eaten with what may have been the first full-size fork I ever held, and changed my mind.

I realise that some old cars and bikes are so far gone that a rebuild is the only real alternative to the crusher, but this motorcycle has an uninterrupted history of use and its blemishes are a chronology of its happenings. It exhibits this thing called patina, which is actually the tarnish of history.

I don't know why the fuel tank has a small dent in it, but I realise that I like it being there. One of the engine crash bars has obviously been the victim of, well, a small crash. This happened before I had it, but I think it should stay as a mark of respect and sympathy to whoever's life was temporarily ruined by not checking that the stand was down properly. Sorting all this out would not actually make the bike any better as a machine, since it works perfectly well; it would merely lobotomise its character.

In last month's Classic Bike, from which I glean so much of my news and opinion, I learned that a man from Norway who owns an old dented Norton is well ahead of me on this one. He has formed the Society for the Protection of the Unrestored Motorcycle, or SPUrM. He boasts that he already has 25 members.

Make that 26.

Restore cars (and stuff) to former glory or keep it coated in tasty patina?



Offline Doctor

  • Left Sodways
  • Under a Vw, or behind a Camera...

  • Joined: Oct 2008

  • Location: sAdelaide
It depends on what it is and how far its gone... Some cars just need to be back to their former glory, the Ferrari that was here over the weekend for classic, that wouldnt look right dented and rusted, it needs to be as close to perfect, but an old Veedub, an old Chev, if its got "Character" why not keep it, if its got big dents and mass amounts of rust, fix it...

I saw this photo and instantly wanted a car with the patina look ( I Also wanted to drive accross the country with no bonnet and a trailer lower than the car like they did...) This is at the extreme end of the scale, no door handles, just wire, a lot of patina and a smashed windscreen, but it has character, Mechanically its perfect, it stops, it turns, and probably has better tyres than the cars that it passed, and passed it...

Image

Image

Image

I love the patina look, My car, i want that patina look, and im going as far as getting paint that will do it, had i found a car that allready had it, i would have bought it and not worried about anything other than mechanical perfection... But i love the dents in the body on mine, the mis matched bonnet, the interior where nothing matches like it should... its Character, and I love driving it more and more each time i do...
www.brassmunkymedia.com.au

Oversteer Scares The Passengers , Understeer Scares The Driver



Offline allanuber


  • Joined: Aug 2007

  • Location: Sydney
  • Name: Al

Hmmmm, I'm note sure that the beemer above really has a 'patina' from normal use and ageing, looks a bit like it was constructed to have a designer's view of patina ... so it seems a bit construed - like spraying mud on your cayenne so that people know you're an outdoorsy type.

If you're 'getting paint' to get the patina look, then it's just that - the look rather than authenticity. To me it's like the difference between a real rolex and a copy.
C'mon, do it!



Offline mondi

  • Resident Bogan
  • Moderator

  • Joined: Jul 2008

  • Location:
  • Drives:
There are so many levels of restoration, and so many reasons for doing so.

I have owned a few "original" cars that have not needed a high level of restoration, but I have left them alone 'cos it was fun to do so.

But then again, I like to have fully restored cars as well. Some people may not agree but I reckon there is nothing like jumping into a 40-50 year old car that is all new.
No reliability issues, everything works like it should and everything is tight. OK, they may not have the technology or creature comforts or handling or steering or……but they are still lots of fun.


In regards to, lets say a Lotus Esprit that had been given a hard life then Restoration is the only way to go to bring it back to it's former glory. Who wants to be driving around in a vehicle that is a little bit special but just isn't the eye candy you would expect.     



Offline Ferrari Fissatore

  • Soap Dodger

  • Joined: Jan 2007

  • Drives: its obsession
  • Location: under its skin
It's not just about eye candy


the driving experience MUST be preserved....

Using the correct or more suitable type of suspension parts to maintain the feel is important for me.

Keeping sound and heat insulation materials correct as possible, or slightly improved....

Also, the small details, like under bonnet labels and stickers etc are important.

The biggest thing though, is not to OVER restore a car.... Simple things like polishing engine parts that shouldn't be, preserving the correct type of hoses/fittings/connectors etc....

You gotta keep it as original as possible... IMO any $1 spent on making the car appear or behave un original is like taking $10 off the value.



Offline SiFi

  • Navigator/Serial Killer

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Location: Adelaide
I prefer original nice patinated.

Unfortunately for my yellow lego block I made the wrong decision. The original paint was dead and peeling in places, slight rust in the front edge of the bonnet and the usual old car stone chips. I thought replicating the original Dulux Daffodil Yellow (same as HK 327 Warwick Yellow) paint would be easy. Wrong. Even with the code, Dulux book sample, and the original paint on the interior, the painter still interpreted it as Lego Block Yellow, three times.  Fortunately all the interior trim is original, and the manufacturer could still supply a great number of the rubber bushes and screen rubbers as new stock and not just dusty NOS. Ten years later, it now just requires a big service, probably a turn on the Konis and it should be right for another few miles.

On a tangent, actually I was surprised at the attention it received last week. On taxi service picking up Goober, some passerby asked if it was an 1100 or 1300, they used to have an 1100. Another person at the Hilton recognised the original plates and said they were going to buy it way back in the 1970's, just Phil Lemm wanted an arm and a leg for it, then on the Sunday after CA in the Central Market carpark, the second owner, in town for lunch, recognised their old car. And to cap it off, it bought back memories for another chap who used to work in Harry Firth's workshop between his Ford and HDT days when he prepared the Gordini for Captain Peter Jansen.



Offline AshSimmonds

  • Geekitecht

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
  • Location: Adelayed
  • Name: Humble Narrator
  • www: AshSimmonds.com
On a tangent, actually I was surprised at the attention it received last week.

Don't sweat man - they just forgot to put "Audi" in front of their "R8" google searches :D




Offline dkabab

Unfortunately for my yellow lego block............

i was shocked at how well that car keeps up.... the other week at climb to the eagle, we would all tear off (PA and i tried to anyway), then get to a stop, turn around and there you were....



Offline Ashley


  • Joined: Jan 2010

  • Location:
  • Drives:
My cars are 61 and 59 years old respectively and both were almost completely worn out when I got them. My MKVI Bentley I bought in '98 has been on the road almost since then with interruptions for more extensive rebuilding and I have learnt from this experience that driving worn or tired cars is misery; you're not discovering how they were when new and you're constantly in fear of breakdown. It's no pleasure at all, but I definitely agree that something old that has worn it's years well and looks well cared for has much more appeal than a perfectly restored classic that looks as though it has just exited a Japanese car factory.

I remember once, as I was driving home, passing a V12 Hispano Suiza Coupe complete with Lalique mascot parked in lay-by on the side of the main road. I got home and decided I must have imagined it because they are so rare, so I drove back to look and see that it was genuine and completely restored but with poor detail work like the use of cold rolled instead of bar turned nuts, modern thin leather instead of the tougher original and other minor details that ruined what could have been a magical experience.

My Bristol 400 gave all the impression of being a running restoration but, as Bristols seem to be, was totally worn out and had to be completely rebuilt. However I was able to retrieve the leather and woodwork, not chrome bumpers and door handles and leave other bits that were original so that it looks old and hand made, but pretty damn good and I like the result. It is a much less polished car than the Bentley and I think I've managed to keep it that way but make it into a more reliable and useable car. To do this, I've fitted a modern clutch, starter motor, later gearbox, a brake servo and an overdrive, all of which aren't easy to spot but make a big difference.

So I sort of agree with James May but would not countenance a worn out old heap that is rotting away because rust or cracks add to the patina.

Ash



Offline Ashley


  • Joined: Jan 2010

  • Location:
  • Drives:
My cars are 61 and 59 years old respectively and both were almost completely worn out when I got them. My MKVI Bentley I bought in '98 has been on the road almost since then with interruptions for more extensive rebuilding and I have learnt from this experience that driving worn or tired cars is misery; you're not discovering how they were when new and you're constantly in fear of breakdown. It's no pleasure at all, but I definitely agree that something old that has worn it's years well and looks well cared for has much more appeal than a perfectly restored classic that looks as though it has just exited a Japanese car factory.

I remember once, as I was driving home, passing a V12 Hispano Suiza Coupe complete with Lalique mascot parked in lay-by on the side of the main road. I got home and decided I must have imagined it because they are so rare, so I drove back to look and see that it was genuine and completely restored but with poor detail work like the use of cold rolled instead of bar turned nuts, modern thin leather instead of the tougher original and other minor details that ruined what could have been a magical experience.

My Bristol 400 gave all the impression of being a running restoration but, as Bristols seem to be, was totally worn out and had to be completely rebuilt. However I was able to retrieve the leather and woodwork, not chrome bumpers and door handles and leave other bits that were original so that it looks old and hand made, but pretty damn good and I like the result. It is a much less polished car than the Bentley and I think I've managed to keep it that way but make it into a more reliable and useable car. To do this, I've fitted a modern clutch, starter motor, later gearbox, a brake servo and an overdrive, all of which aren't easy to spot but make a big difference.

So I sort of agree with James May but would not countenance a worn out old heap that is rotting away because rust or cracks add to the patina.

Here is the interior as guide to what I mean:

Image

Ash



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